All men have looked up at the sky in wonder, but less have looked down from the sky in awe. Few have been wrapped in the dark arms of the universe. And even fewer have seen all of mans existence shrink into a pale blue dot as Carl Sagan so eloquently put it. These men, through the help of our government were the pioneers of a new frontier. And their efforts have paved the way for hundreds of new space fearing innovations like satellites, orbiting telescopes, and private space flight. But even though this innovation has redefined the skyline, it still has found a glass ceiling encircling the earth. This ceiling was once broken by the 12 men of Apollo who once miraculously took a stroll on the lunar surface. But men have never flown farther or reached beyond our moon, possibly the budget is not there or the risk is too great.
So we satisfy our need for exploration with machines. We send out probes to our neighboring planets and moons. And our robotic friends have sent back scientific data and shown us images of incredible foreign worlds. But have they grasped the publics hearts and prodded at the core explorer’s spirit of humanity? No, they have had their 15 minutes of robot fame and they have keep us nerds occupied in this age of exploratory drought.
Apollo changed the world and inspired a whole generation of youth, it gave not only America, but the whole world a feeling of invincibility. “If we can put a man on the moon then what else can we do?” Anything instantly became achievable and, in the decades following giving rise to the modern age, if you had asked a man on the street when we would land a man on Mars he might have responded, “10 maybe 20 years from now…anything is possible.” And he might have been right if we had not lost JFK’s vision to, “go to the moon and do the other things, not because they are easy but because they are hard.”
Our world is crying out for change; we see it in our elections, in our media, and in our daily lives. But change is not achieved through reorganizing the cards, but instead by reaching out and grabbing a new deck. Our people need inspiration, man needs a frontier. And there is one staring at us every night when the sun falls behind the horizon. Perhaps we miss it in our beds at night under our warm covers. But man will not stay still for long. Like a rebellious grounded child we will soon sneak out into the night sky. Even tonight there might be a child dreaming of a stroll on mars, to be the first man or woman to stand on the red Martian soil. On that day we will once again be reminded of humanity’s limitless capability and people on every planet will realize that they have not yet reached a ceiling. That the universe keeps on going and going. And so should we.
Here is a INCREDIBLY INTERESTING Panel discussing the future of space exploration at TAM convention featuring: Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Pamela Gay, and Lawrence Krauss
***If you want to skip forward past introductions, the core discussion begins at around minute 5:30***